In the fast-developing city of El Alto, just west of La Paz, Bolivia, an architectural phenomenon has emerged so rapidly that it still lacks a proper name. Some refer to it as 'space-ship architecture,' others herald it as 'new Andean,' but most just call it 'kitsch.' Yet the brightly coloured buildings that continue to pop up all over the otherwise flat and monotonous landscape of El Alto represent the most interesting architectural development in the country today.

With no architectural training and almost single-handedly, Freddy Mamani Silvestre has built for the emerging middle-classes of Aymara origins about 60 such buildings in little more than 10 years. A double-height Salon de Eventos (Party Hall) occupies the first floor. It caters for Ayamara's strong culture of communal activity and celebration, and it provides the building's owner with a generous source of income.

Mamani Silvestre believes he is providing the long-despised city of El Alto with a new positive identity.

Extract of an article by Elisabetta Andreoli,
author of The Architecture of Freddy Mamani Silvestre (La Paz, 2014).

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